Today, Calgary’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a study examining the effect of financial disclosure on Canadian public opinion regarding First Nations’ communities. Written by Christopher Alcantara and Jason Roy, “First Nations’ Financial Reporting And Public Opinion in Canada” is one of the few studies examining the effectiveness of efforts when it comes to financial transparency.
The most recent initiative regarding financial transparency and accountability on reserves was the 2013 First Nations Financial Transparency Act. This policy made it mandatory for communities under the jurisdiction of the Indian Act to make their comprehensive financial data accessible to the federal government and public.
Though today’s Liberal government no longer enforces this legislation, many communities continue to abide by its requirements. Alcantara and Roy’s aim is to examine whether this increased transparency has had an effect on Canadian public opinion.
“As a point of comparison, we also looked at the effect of financial disclosure on public opinion about municipal governments,” reads the study’s executive summary. “Our findings suggest that confidence in First Nations and municipal actors is generally unaffected by different levels of financial disclosure. We do, however, find increased (albeit weak) public support for self-determination when indigenous governments provide full financial disclosure.”
Alcantara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western University, where he specializes in intergovernmental cooperation.
Roy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, focusing his research on Canadian politics, political participation and behaviour, electoral politics, and public opinion.
The document is available on the Frontier Centre’s website.
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)